Written by Jill Seale, Jill Seale Design Studio
My Mom's 1950's china pattern was a creamy turquoise with silver marbled through it by mid-century designer Sascha Brastoff. Perhaps this is where my deep affection for marbling took root? As soon as I saw she was finished entertaining with it en force I confiscated it. In an Italian stationery shop in Georgetown, DC I used to buy large sheets of marbled papers for no good reason other than they were just so beautiful and I needed to possess them. I still do!
The ancient art of paper marbling has history around the world, from Japan to the Middle East to Europe. It is a universal language of beauty. It's had a role in bookbinding arts to be an identifier of the source of a document with proprietary blends of colors and patterns to protect from counterfeiting, or along an edge so one could see a break in the pattern.
Florence, Italy remains a center for paper marbling. This is where I first learned and have returned to further my study. Once I threw that first blob of paint on the water and watched it expand, I was all in. Swirling the paints around with different tools is mesmerizing and I was positively BITTEN!
The process of marbling is a visceral experience. It is not a thinking game. It hits you at your soul. A peace envelopes you like you are watching an ocean or fire. It's the same but continually different. It's entrancing, magical and mysterious.
While touring various generations-old artisan studios in Florence, from ceramics, mosaics, leather, etc., I saw that the younger generations taking their time-honored craft and
bringing a contemporary design eye to it, allowing the art to live on into new generations. This liberated me to bring my own creative expression to my marbling both in design, colors and products.
Someone once asked, "What do you think about when you are marbling?" I hadn't thought about it until she asked. I don't think! Have you heard of 'flow'? When you are in a zone and all the thoughts go out of your head and time and space don't exist. I have a silent visual conversation with the paints. I bring my colors, perhaps the start of an idea, then the paints tell me their story and I respond in kind. I can only control it so much, it has a say too. I watch it unfold and recognize the moment when I see something I want to capture.
With my background in product design, I wanted to translate this fine art into interior textiles and wallcoverings to bring that beauty and peace into living spaces to enjoy in a more prominent way. It is UNBOUNDED in that it's world-traveled and inclusive and speaks to 'tradition and today' both equally and comfortably.
All varieties of colors coming together to play in concert for an overall design, to me, is a metaphor for a perfect world.
Debuting at Suites at Market Square Top Floor T29.